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Poster: light into ashes Date: Oct 2, 2012 7:23pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dire Wolf 1969

I would like to think that's the Hound they were watching, it's an atmospheric classic.
However, there was also a Hound made in 1959 by Hammer Films, in color with Peter Cushing, and that might've been the one on TV.

What's curious is, with a Sherlock Holmes film in Hunter's mind and the song set in Fennario, Dire Wolf is very much an English-inspired song.

It's hard to say how much Hunter contributed directly to the music (I'd have to compare his solo versions) - Garcia would often change the melodies, and eventually told Hunter to stop singing him melodies, just give him the words. Dire Wolf may have been a words-only example.
But I would say this new style of Hunter song did encourage the Dead to develop their country chops.
For instance, Garcia had Dire Wolf in mind as a pedal-steel tune, though they didn't play it often that way. Also, if you hear the '69 demo of it, Garcia's second guitar is similar to El Paso; in any case straight country flatpicking.

Yeah, a 1939 film would not have been that old for them - made just shortly before they were born.
Your time equivalences point out something interesting - the pace of cultural change has been much slower in the last few decades. Other than electronic gadgetry, there's been much less change in the last 40 years than there was in the previous 40 - which is in turn put in the shade by the PREVIOUS 40.

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Oct 2, 2012 7:34pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dire Wolf 1969

It sounds from the quotes that Hunter would play his own tentative chords as he wrote, so he had a vague “first draft” or “placeholder” of an idea, and Jerry could hear it. So as a creative process, Jerry’s own musical ideas and takes on a general sound for the song could have been sparked by Hunter’s version in a lot of cases, even if Hunter just handed him the words. It seems that in effect it was a musical conversation at that point, even if Hunter didn’t actually sing it to Jerry the first time but just handed him the words, and even if it wasn’t intentional.

Which tunes were written while they were living together? Cuz unless Hunter never strummed and sang while writing, it seems that Jerry would have heard his initial musical idea, and even if he kept only 5 percent or a general feel, that’s an interesting aspect of the whole songwriting process.

That ’69 demo is great! Aside from the fact that you feel like Jerry and his guitar (and his twin with HIS guitar) is right in the room, all of those tunes have such a different feel in their embryonic stage. With Casey Jones, you can really hear the old “cocaine blues” sound. And then the 6/22/69 Casey Jones is almost a different song entirely from what it became. It’s going in a very different direction in that point.

Yeah, you're right on the pace of cultural change -- at least from the perspective of the West/developed world. (From where I sit, the last 40 years have been the massive change. Basically from the middle ages to the 21st century in the course of 40 years. But that's a different universe.) I think the digital world is massively changing the mindset/lived experience of "kids these days," so that's a huge sea change, but in terms of the rough outlines of cultural life, it's astounding to think that many people who were children during the Civil War lived to see the atom bomb -- and movies, jazz, short dresses, women drivers, "Brave New World," the beginning of the beats ...

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Oct 2, 2012 8:53pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: the past

You're right, I was just thinking of the US - other places have their own timelines.
Our great-grandparents (some of them) were born in a world without movies, radios, records, phones, planes, cars, electric power, or even plastic; and indoor toilets & showers were rare - where things like 'free love' & 'contraception' were considered horrid & unmentionable, and 'short dresses' unthinkable - but where you could get opium at the drugstore counter...

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Poster: AltheaRose Date: Oct 2, 2012 10:02pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: the past

My dad remembers his grandpa (born pre-CW) visiting them after they moved to the city and had an indoor bathroom. My great-grandfather's quote: "I god, it ain't right t' shit where ya eat."

(I love the "I god" part. Sounds like Lonesome Dove.)

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Oct 2, 2012 9:47pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dire Wolf 1969

I think those early Casey Jones with their intro jams are pretty cool - it could have gone differently. But they tightened it up instead of loosening it.

I don't know when Hunter got a place of his own, or just how long they lived together... I think we can safely say, the Workingman's and many American Beauty songs were written then. (Some of the AB songs Hunter wrote on a trip to England.)

But when we're talking about Jerry being inspired by Hunter's initial melodic ideas, we're probably talking about just a few tunes. Here are a couple quotes:
Hunter wrote in '75, "The Grateful Dead have never required melodies from me (coals to Newcastle), and consequently I have a great stock of 'orphan tunes' in my head which I used to write my lyrics to. My tune writing does not approach the richness and subltety of Jerry's."
From the 1991 interview -
Hunter: I always wrote my own melodies, but after a few years Jerry got to the point where he said, 'Will you stop giving me melodies, because they just confuse me and I can't get them out of my head.'
Garcia: That's true. A lot of times his melodies would be so catchy: 'God I can't hear this any way except with his melody!' Sometimes they were perfect, though, and I didn't fool with them - like Must Have Been the Roses is one. That's totally Hunter's melody.
Hunter: Actually, you stuck a minor chord in there which makes it ever so much more powerful.

We'd have to figure out on a case-by-case basis which musical ideas might have come from Hunter. Some songs, he just provided lyrics without a tune & Garcia did the rest. Some songs, he provided a musical setting & Garcia changed it - for instance, Black Peter: "I wrote this as a brisk piece like Kershaw's 'Louisiana Man.' Garcia took it seriously, though, dressing it in subtle changes and a mournful tempo. The bridge verse was written after the restructuring of the piece, and reflects the additional depth of possibility provided for the song by his treatment."
Other songs, the music came from the band & Hunter wrote the lyrics afterward - like Uncle John's Band or Box of Rain, where they gave him a tape of the instrumental, and he wrote the words to that.
So there were a variety of ways for a Dead song to be born!

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Poster: Arck Date: Oct 5, 2012 6:04am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dire Wolf 1969

As I recall Hunter provides a very nice, albeit not particularly useful, description of their songwriting approach when living in Larkspur in the Garcia ('72) remastered CD, with specific reference to them writing Deal and Loser on the same day.

Great album - probably my second favourite GD-related studio album, second only to Workingman's Dead.

Thanks for another brilliant post LiA.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Oct 5, 2012 12:49pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dire Wolf 1969

Ah, I'd never seen the liner notes to that - so that would've been at the end of 1970.
(It was in mid-'71 when Garcia had to move to a new house.)

There could probably be a good compendium made of all the Hunter/Garcia descriptions of their songwriting process over the years. (Not that I'm about to do it!)